Disclaimer: I don't own the Ink-trilogy, and I especially don't own the line quoted below.

What a child he still was, even though he had proudly shown Dustfinger the first stubble on his chin a few months ago! ~Inkspell, chapter 22

Dustfinger closed his eyes and felt the sun on his skin. At least the sun was one thing that felt the same in this world as it did in his own. It was quiet, too. From the grassy clearing where he was laying, the noises of everyday life in the nearby village were faint. Later when it got cooler he would probably put on a fire-eating performance, but for now he wanted to enjoy the warmth.

But where was the boy? Well, Dustfinger wasn't worried. He was sure Farid couldn't be far, for the boy scarcely left his side.

Just then Farid came running towards Dustfinger, looking very excited.

"Dustfinger! Dustfinger, look!" Farid said with a big smile on his face.

Dustfinger opened his eyes. "At what?"

Farid looked annoyed. "At me, of course!"

Dustfinger looked at Farid and not noticing anything new, said, "What about you?"

Farid looked annoyed again. "Dustfinger, don't you notice anything...different about me?"

Dustfinger studied Farid. "Er, no, I don't."

Farid looked very disappointed. "Not anything? Not one tiny single itty bitty thing different about me?"


Farid frowned at Dustfinger. "Well there is something different."

"Okay then, what is it?" Dustfinger asked.

"Try to guess."

Dustfinger rolled his eyes.

"Guess!" Farid commanded.

"Let me think...um, your face is dirty? You've gotten taller, maybe? Hmm...oh, I know! You're wearing your shoes!"

"Yes, I am wearing shoes, but no, that is not the thing different about me," Farid said irritably.

"Well then, I really don't know what is," Dustfinger said.

"You're much stupider than I thought."

Dustfinger fought not to smile at the boy's sullen tone.

Farid glared at him for a moment, then sighed in exasperation. "The stubble!"

He looked at Dustfinger expectantly, obviously waiting for him to say something. When he did not, Farid grabbed his hand and put it on his chin. "Do you feel it? Do you feel my stubble?" he asked hopefully.

"Um, yes. Yes, I do," Dustfinger said, smiling at Farid's delighted expression.

"Yes!" Farid began to hop around excitedly. "I knew you would notice eventually, even though it certainly did take you a while!"

Dustfinger turned so the boy wouldn't see that he was shaking with laughter.

A/N: I hope you enjoyed this! I would love reviews, if you have a moment.